UK firm Inmarsat has reached agreements with five major air navigation services providers (ANSPs) to implement a new air traffic modernisation project.

Under the agreements, Inmarsat will team-up with DFS from Germany, Spain’s ENAIRE, Italian company ENAV, and the UK’s NATS, as well as EUROCONTROL MUAC from north-west Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

The parties will join an initial operational capability (IOC) testing programme aimed at modernising air traffic management (ATM) across Europe.

Inmarsat aviation safety and operational services vice-president John Broughton said: “Iris is a truly collaborative partnership, and we are delighted to bring on board these industry-leading ANSPs to help deliver our shared goal of modernising air traffic management in Europe.”

In a separate development, Inmarsat signed a contract with ANSPs-owned company European Satellite Services Provider (ESSP).

“The satellite-based Iris system is a key element for a successful implementation in Europe of the air traffic management data link services (DLS).”

ESSP and Inmarsat will describe the service and certification framework of the future Iris service provider, which will be appointed under the programme to provide the European datalink communication services for Iris.

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The Iris programme is a collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and led by Inmarsat to offer secure, high-bandwidth datalink communications over Europe.

It seeks to deploy more digital controller-pilot communications to enhance the speed and precision of air traffic management across Europe’s congested airspace.

Using Iris’s certified, efficient and sustainable datalink, the ANSPs can boost ATM efficiency, relieve air traffic controller workload and enhance flight safety.

ESA telecommunications and integrated applications director Magali Vaissiere said: “The satellite-based Iris system is a key element for a successful implementation in Europe of the air traffic management data link services (DLS) with the outlook to become a global worldwide solution.”